I am indebted to Amity Shlaes for gently correcting a joke of mine that dates back to July 8, 1972. On that date in the New York Times, I joshed that President Calvin Coolidge "probably spent more time napping than any president in the nation's history" and therefore was a successful president.
The other day a group of us were at a restaurant. All of a sudden there was a child stomping his feet and stating he was not going to do what he was told.
Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure -- and who gets the most of both -- more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.
Hoping to avoid crushing across-the-board spending cuts in under a month, President Barack Obama is proposing a short-term fix that involves targeted cuts and some higher taxes.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., explains why the three-month deal passed Wednesday isn't a "band-aid," but a mandate for Congress to find long-term solutions.
"You don't have to be a deficit hawk to be disturbed by the growing gap between revenues and expenses," said Sen. Barack Obama during a Nov. 3, 2005, debate on the Senate floor.
Enter the $1 trillion coin.
Even the pea is a little bit too big, he says. “We’ve done all this to arrive at an arrangement on taxes.”
With the economy barely expanding, the federal government is spending 4 percent more than the FY 2012 level.
The crisis du jour in Washington now dominating the news, the so-called “fiscal cliff”, is but the latest in seemingly endless political crises that we shouldn’t be having.
Is there any reason for today's Americans to care about what happens to tomorrow's Americans? After all, what have tomorrow's Americans done for today's Americans? Moreover, since tomorrow's Americans don't vote, we can dump on them with impunity. That's a vision that describes the actual behavior of today's Americans. It would be seen as selfish, callous and ruthless only if it were actually articulated. Let's look at it.
It's at times like this I'm ashamed to admit I live inside the Beltway.
The conventional wisdom has emerged that in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," politicians in Washington must agree to some method of tax increases ("revenue") -- which will be real, even if low taxes are not the cause of our ills -- alongside some kind of promise of spending restraint on entitlement programs, which is our problem, and which no one believes Washington will restrain.